What is it to be Christian or United Methodist?

If you're new to Christianity, you might experience a vocabulary shock. Christians speak in terms that they seem to understand, but trust me, we are all learning what they mean! Feel free to email questions - your questions won't be as naïve as some of the answers! There are not always hard and firm answers to questions about God. We wonder about many things, but some of our wonderings may only be answered in the next life. We can understand some things from the Bible, from our vast and diverse history of traditions, from our own experiences, and from using our God given common-sense and ability to reason. But as for the things that only God knows, we can only wonder. Still, we want to talk about the things of God, so church is a great place to learn & exercise the Godly vocabulary.

How do I learn more?

The best way to get to know any church is to show up. The Christian experience is best live and in person. The Christian experience is about being in community. We are not a perfect community by any stretch of the imagination. Christians might be hypocrites like everyone else - but we're working on it!!! We are a people in process of trying to be more like Jesus. We do not always succeed, but we put ourselves in the company of other people who are striving to be more like Jesus.

When you come to Sunday morning worship, you receive a booklet called a "bulletin" and then there are 2 songbooks called The United Methodist Hymnal & The Faith We Sing. The bulletin and the hymnal are your friends.

At the top of the bulletin, you'll notice the cast of characters. The first billing is "Ministers." All baptized people are Ministers. We believe very much in the "priesthood of all believers." Every person is called in their baptism to share the love and life of Jesus Christ in the world.

You'll see & experience the Methodist faith through the songs in the Hymnal. You'll see words like "Prevenient Grace" (the grace of God that was there waiting for you all along), "Justifying Grace" (the feeling of God coming very close to you, and that causes you to be something new & improved), "Sanctifying Grace" (doing good things for God in the world) and "Perfecting Grace" (being fully on the journey of loving God and others and yourself).

Like all Christians, we believe in the Trinity. We believe in one God who is expressed through three distinct characters called: Creator, Redeemer & Sustainer (or Father, Son & Holy Spirit). This is much like our roles here on earth. All at the same time, we are 100% friend, 100% brother or sister, 100% daughter or son, 100% partner, 100% student or worker. In that same way, we believe God is 100% Creator (Father), 100% Christ (Son, Redeemer) and 100% Holy Spirit (Sustainer).

What about Holy Communion/Lord's Supper/Eucharist?

EVERYONE is invited. Our founder, John Wesley, believed that you could be transformed during Communion. So we don't want to limit that experience of coming very close to God and each other. All are welcome - the very young (usually as soon as an infant reaches for the bread), those who doubt, those who aren't members of this church or any church, those who have not been baptized yet - all are welcome. And we use grape juice in the Communion cup so the very youngest of us, and those who shouldn't have anything stronger are able to experience the grace of God in Christ's holy meal.  There is always a gluten-free alternative with dedicated cup.

What about Baptism and membership?

We use similar words in the service for Baptism, Confirmation & Membership and it happens as a part of Sunday worship when everyone is gathered together to praise God. It's all about Prayer, Presence, Gifts and Service. When you decide to become a member, it's because you're ready to commit to all four words. The pastor holds membership classes as people request to join. Email the Pastor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you're interested in more info.

Why come to the First UMC in Wallingford?

We are good at Worship.  What's a church without good Christmas Eve & Easter Sunday worship?  In addition we do a special job of celebrating Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Native American Awareness Sunday and All Saints' Sunday.  We frequently use video & drama in worship. Children & infants are welcome!!!

We are good at Education.  Sunday School at 9:15am: Godly Play for  pre-school and elementary students; Youth and adult classes use various curriculums each year.  Fall Bible study or Spiritual Formation for adults.  Yearly Lenten study for adults.

We are good at Service.  We have an ongoing relationships with Paul Newman's Hole-in-the-Wall-Gang Camp, with South Meriden Trinity UMC's Unity House for refugees, Heifer Project International, and with missionaries Beth Weaver in New Guinea, Red Bird Mission in Appalachia.

Mostly, we are all on a journey. We are works in progress. We just agree that it makes sense if we focus on matters of faith alongside other people who are doing the same. Like when you really want to get good at something, like a golf swing - you go to the course & practice & watch others who have more experience. So now you're thinking about church and practicing your faith. Sometimes you'll feel like you're getting somewhere, sometimes you'll feel like you're on a plateau, and other times you'll feel like you've fallen into The Pit. All that is a part of the journey. Some of the people in church on Sunday morning have been here all their lives, and some are very new here. Some have come from other churches, and some didn't come to church until they were adults. We are all practicing to be better people in the Way of Jesus Christ. That means that we are far from perfect, but we are on our way in Christ's Way...

Other offerings at this church:

  • Bible Studies: Disciple Bible Study, Jesus in the Gospels
  • Spiritual Formation: Companions in Christ series
  • Every Lenten season, there is a weekly study
  • A Memorial Garden
  • Quilt workshop meets on Tuesday mornings
  • Youth Group
  • Justice issues in our state (we work on issues like: health care, quality education, affordable housing, public transportation)
  • Working at Wallingford's Homeless Shelter and Master's Manna
  • Events through Church World Service (a yearly blanket drive is one event)
  • Ongoing relationships with Covenant to Care & Chrysalis House
  • Babysitting available during the 10:30am Sunday worship service
  • Healing services
  • Meetings of outside groups: Al-Anon, Bi-polar/Depression group, Augustine Fellowship, Boy Scout Troop 1, Girl Scout leadership team
  • And there is space to rent...

Where can I get more info?

Poke around this website. Check out the Good News newsletter & the pastor's weekly Sermons posted on this site. If you want to know more about Methodists in general, check www.umc.org. You'll also notice that the UMC is a very justice oriented and socially conscious organization.

There is so much more to write about when I think about why you should come, but when it comes to church and God - it's better experienced than explained.

See you in Church

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To grow gracefully in faith through Worship, Education and Service through the transforming power of Jesus' love that connects us all.
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